Living under the same roof as a dog is like having a second shadow that follows you everywhere. Dogs love to walk their owner from room to room and enjoy their presence. For them, intimacy is a somewhat abstract concept, if not nonexistent. But why do dogs follow us to the bathroom?
Here are 10 possible reasons for this behavior:
1. They want to take part in all your activities.
Being a member of your family, your dog wants to share everything with you, even your intimate moments. It is, therefore, quite normal for him to follow you everywhere, including to the toilet.
2. They are curious.
Curiosity makes your pet want to know what you’re doing in the bathroom. He may also believe that you go there often because this is your territory and you always need to secure it, as dogs tend to see areas they often visit in this way.
3. They think they are protecting you.
Going to the bathroom alone can be risky and you could be exposed to a potential attack! It probably isn’t, but your protective dog believes it.
4. They just want to be near you.
Dogs are among the most loyal and sociable animals. Following you might just be proof of love. Thus, they tell you how much they care about you.
5. They like to smell several scents.
Dogs love to discover new smells, and the bathroom is the perfect place to smell a variety of scents. Between soaps, cleaning products, perfumes, shaving creams, and more, this is a paradise for him!
6. They worry about you.
Your dog may be worried about you going to the bathroom, and standing close to you and staring at you is an attempt to bond and protect you.
7. They suffer from separation anxiety.
Some dogs can’t stand being away from their owner. Consider seeing your veterinarian if the need to stay near you causes stressful behaviors.
8. They don’t understand the concept of privacy.
The ancestors of dogs, wolves, still functioned in packs. The dog is therefore genetically programmed to be constantly in a family. He, therefore, does not understand the notion of privacy and wants to share everything.
9. They express their love.
If your dog picks up toilet paper and brings it to you, this is his way of telling you he loves you, even in the bathroom.
10. They try to help.
Your dog wants to help. He can hold your toilet paper or bring you a towel. The main thing is that he is trying to help you.
Other Canine Characteristics That Explain This Behavior
Dogs belong to a gregarious species. This means that they have evolved to live within a social group. Initially, this was a prerequisite for the survival of the individual and that is why dogs have such a deep-rooted instinct in their brains to get closer to another individual from their social group with whom they maintain strong emotional ties.
Moreover, there are statistically observational studies of behavior in canine communities that have shown that a dog can spend more than half the day within 10 meters of another member of his social group. Something similar has also been observed in groups of wolves.
The behavior of the species helps us understand that our dogs want to stay by our side in all places of the house because they are animals used to living in groups and are very protective. This way, he can walk you to the bathroom to protect you, just as the dog feels protected by you. This is also why it is quite common for your dog to look at you when he is defecating. At this point, the dog feels vulnerable and seeks support from his social group, which is you!
Nonetheless, what has been mentioned above does not fully explain why dogs follow you to the bathroom, as there are many dogs who have a great relationship and a very good emotional bond with their human friend, but who don’t follow him around the house.
Why Do Some Dogs Not Follow Their Owner To The Bathroom?
Part of the answer to this question lies in the puppy’s development:
In the first stages of a puppy’s life, the animal is its behavioral development which is and will be fundamental when it becomes an adult. It is a stage of life where all the lived experiences will deeply mark his future behavior. Indeed, these are the “first experiences” that have a great impact on the behavior of the puppy.
These experiences can be both negative and positive for the animal. For example, the behavior of a puppy who has had a traumatic first experience will not be the same as that of a dog who has had positive and pleasant first experiences.
If he is used to following you to the bathroom from a young age, it is quite normal for him to continue this behavior into adulthood. Thus, he acquired this behavior and for him, the strange behavior would be rather not to accompany you. However, it may also be quite normal that he has not acquired this behavior and, therefore, does not follow you or has learned not to be allowed to enter that room.
How To Manage This Behavior
If your dog follows you to the bathroom and does not show signs of anxiety when you forbid him to come in, there is no need to intervene because the animal already understands that he is not allowed to enter. However, if your dog accompanies you to the bathroom because he is too dependent, that is to say, he has developed hyper-attachment, it is essential to intervene and treat him to restore his mental stability.
Besides, dogs that develop separation anxiety show other symptoms like crying, barking, destruction of objects and furniture, urinating inside the house, vomiting, etc.
So, if your dog shows any of these symptoms, you will need to teach him to be more independent by using the following techniques:
However, in some severe cases, the anxiety is such that it will be very difficult to correct the situation without professional help. In this case, it is advisable to consult a dog trainer or a veterinarian.
The unconditional love of dogs for their humans is a fact known and cherished by all dog owners. If it is sometimes funny and inconsequential for your pooch to follow you everywhere, even to the bathroom, this behavior can however be a sign of separation anxiety. So, if this behavior bothers or worries you, do not hesitate to call a professional, who will be able to help you reduce your dog’s anxiety.
Featured Image Credit: Zayats Svetlana, Shutterstock